Israel’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) and its American Counterpart, FEMA, have established a cooperation mechanism to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday.
According to a statement released by the defense ministry, the two agencies held their first joint discussion on Tuesday night with representatives of the health ministries of both countries, the National Security Council (NSC), US Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The discussion, which was part of the international cooperation initiative led by NEMA, was led by the Head of the Cooperation and Assistance Unit in NEMA, Mr. Kobi Wimisberg, Director of the International Department of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ashi Shalmon, and the Head of the Foreign Policy Department in the NSC, Dr. Avner Golov.
Some of the topics that were discussed included curbing the spread of the virus, vaccination, issues related to quarantine, assisting the elderly population, emotional support, returning to routine activity, and economic rehabilitation. The two sides also discussed potential areas of cooperation between the two countries as well as establishing a mechanism of ongoing exchange and discourse.
“The conference call resulted in the decision to establish a joint working group and knowledge-exchange mechanism in light of the fight against the COVID-19 virus pandemic,” the statement read, adding that “in addition, representatives from both countries exchanged information about the challenges they face.”
Also on Tuesday Defense Minister Naftali Bennett warned that Israel will see an exponential growth in the number of seriously ill coronavirus patients needing respirators.
The IDF also said that it’s delaying a joint air exercise with the US that was supposed to begin yesterday. The aerial exercise, in which F-35 stealth fighter jets were set to take part in, had received special permission to be held despite a ban on joint international military drills as it was due to take part in the air with no person-to-person contact.But on Wednesday the IDF said that the US requested the postponement of several days to “sort out coordination issues.” The IDF didn’t elaborate on the nature of these issues.